Help Me, Lord

Help Me, Lord! My Child May Be Suicidal

“I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”     Psalm 121:1-2

People of all ages can have feelings of desperation. We may feel abandoned and forgotten, misunderstood and desolate. We yearn for peace and understanding, even when it seems like an impossible dream.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org), more than twice as many people in New York State die from suicide than by homicide. Suicidal ideation can be a brief, passing thought or a prelude to self-inflicted violence and death. How do we know if someone we care about is serious about ending their own life? Every statement made about suicidal ideation needs to be assessed by a medical or a mental health professional. Lutheran Counseling Center psychotherapists are well qualified to make this assessment.

The Jason Foundation (jasonfoundation.com) was created after one family’s tragic loss, to assist parents to learn how to prevent suicide in their own family. The authors state that suicide is a “silent epidemic” among young people. Nationally, suicide claims more than 100 young lives per week. Parents must be alert and pay attention to changes in behaviors and attitudes. Girls make more attempts but boys are more likely to die because they choose more violent means of death. LGBTQ youths are at higher risk because of harassment in school and society. When people are suffering, their life stressors often exceed their ability to cope with stress in a healthy way.

The primary warning signs for suicide are a change in behavior or attitudes particularly after a traumatic life event. Many feel like a burden to others or state they have no reason to live. Specific behaviors that indicate an increased risk of suicide completion include increased use of alcohol to cope with everyday life, acting recklessly, isolation from others, sleep disturbances, certain types of mood disorders or giving favorite items away.

If you have a concern about anyone you know, taking direct action might save a person’s life. There are many resources and details listed in the previously cited websites. We Christians need to be reminded that help is available for us to know what to do next. The psalmist reminds us that our help is in the Lord our Maker who also creates professionals who care.

Janet Siry counsels children, teens, adults and families at LCC’s Patchogue, NY site. She is a member of The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and was awarded Woman of the Year in Religion in 2005.

If you or someone you love needs immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.  For  help that is not an immediateemergency, call the Lutheran Counseling Center at 516-741-0994 or 1-800-317-1173 or e-mail us at Center@lccny.org for more information or to set an appointment. LCC has nine counseling sites in and around metropolitan New York.